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Aquella visión de Peter Moore y EA Sports

Pasado y futuro presente de presidente y compañía en Wii.

 
 
Revogamers: Well, we’re a Wii site, so we’re going to talk about the Wii.

Peter Moore: I’m happy to talk about the Wii.

RG: Obviously, the first thing we have to talk about is the recent announcement you’ve done today morning, Tennis. What is it?

Peter Moore: It’s a tennis game (obviously), it will lead on the Wii and we intend to take full advantage of the MotionPlus controller. It will be the first tennis game for some time that will have all of the Grand Slams: French Open, Wimbledon (it’s been a while since Wimbledon has appeared in a game), US Open, Australian Open, all the four Grand Slams. We’ll have all of the mature players from several generations, from people like Martina Mavratilova to Pete Sampras… to the modern day of Federer.

We’re excited to finally have a tennis game. We realize it gives us a really global reach, and it’s a good complement to soccer as well. I think that we’re going to deliver it in 2009.

From the point of view of having something specific to the Wii, while it will come to all the platforms; it will lead on the Wii. I think that’s a good testament of the unique experience that is the Wii.



 

RG: And what about Rafa Nadal?

Moore: We haven’t made an announcement yet, but you can imagine that we’re very eager to get Rafa in the game.

RG: I guess so. What would be Tennis’ approach? Will it be like a simulator?

Moore: Like any classic EA Sports Game, it will be a simulator. The game will take full advantage of what we can do with the new Wii MotionPlus; we’ve not yet really got our hands on it [the WM+] for a good period of time. My understanding is that it really gives us a better range of sensitivity that is currently lacking with the Wii Remote, so we’re excited to be able to make a first announcement about MotionPlus as EA, as a company; and secondly, tennis is a great thing [for using the Wii MotionPlus]; tennis, and maybe golf, are the two sports that can take full advantage of the new, more-sensitive WM+.

RG: So, this game won’t be under the ‘All-Play’ brand?

Moore: Ahm… no, I mean, that’s an interesting question… but I think that we’ll have to wait and see. It could be part of ‘All-Play’, but we haven’t made that decision yet.

EA man: Well, we don't even have a final name yet for Tennis, I think that once we've decided the name we'll move into imagining the strategy.

Moore: We'll figure it out, but right now as an EA Sports [game] it could be All-Play. This Tennis will eventually have a name, and it will eventually come in 2009, and it will lead on the Wii and it will use MotionPlus.

RG: So talking about 'All Play', if we're not wrong, All-Play comes from an easy-to-everyone game mode on previous EA Wii games, and now it's a brand and an image.

Moore: Yes, we needed to signify with the Wii consumer that this is not what they're used to with EA Sports games. First year, we had a difficult time with the Wii... Wii gamers were not coming to our sports [games], they weren't looking a fully-authentic simulation experience. We didn't think [about] Family-Play until we made Madden and that was our fist toeing the water, doing something different.

I think that if you played FIFA (with Kaz), it's the best example because it's lot of fun and if you're a hardcore football fan you still enjoy playing it; but at the same time, it has two different skill levels. We're excited about the Madden version [that] came out last week and is doing very, very well; and the FIFA version I think is going to do equally as well. [Peter now asks if we've tried FIFA and the other games at the EA booth] Did you like it? Did you play it? Did you like it?

RG: Yes... Well, I won (laughs)

Moore: Well, if that's you're only criteria, then you'll be fine! (laughs)

RG: I think this year's version it's very different from last year's.

Moore: Yeah, it's very different. And you know, it's enjoyable: you still have the simulation experience in there as well, but you've got some fun in some of the minigames... Ronalmiinho, your formal boy from Barcelona now has coasted to A.C. Milan... Oh, I'm sure that you're not a Barça fan.

RG: The thing is, I’m a Barça fan, indeed.

Moore: Barça fan? And you live in Madrid?

RG: Well, near Madrid but not in Madrid.

Moore: Oh my God (laughs). Yeah, you can't be a Barça fan if you live in Madrid.

Well, there's also a lighter mode... The stuff that we have which is a lot of fun, and we also have different characters... I've said Ronaldinho because we suppose that we really use it as a Mii-touch character... Nintendo has been very cooperative in getting this use of the Mii.

RG: Isn't it a risk to hide the core image (the simulation image) [of the game] on the cover, on the press releases… from the core Wii player? Because 'All-Play' is also an image...

Moore: Yes, it's an image and there will be players on it, and well, Brett Favre is on the cover of our [Madden] 'All-Play' game; but it's a different type of cover... Your Wii consumer told us very clearly two years ago "We want a different experience than on PS3 and Xbox 360", and they told us by simply not buying the Wii version. What we were doing is we were taking our PS3 version and our 360 version, and porting it to the Wii, and that's not what the Wii consumer wanted so we've built this game from the ground up. You've still got a pretty hardcore experience, I think, in there, by taking the advanced mode; but there's also he 'All-Play' mode, so whilst you do that, more people can come in.

I know that a lot of hardcore gamers have a Wii, but there's also more people who say: "I'm a first-time gamer, I love football, but it's too hard" So, the way we've built the Wii version is to make the game more approachable and more accessible... But everything is a risk on the Wii.

RG: How is the first feedback you're receiving about 'All-Play' mode?

Moore: I haven't seen anything today; but certainly the Madden version (our American football version), which we were very nervous about, has been reviewed very well. The only real metric you can say is you can look at the Metacritics scores and say, what are the scores? And we’re at 86 on the Wii version. I would be disappointed if we don't get a similar type scores for the FIFA version. Kaz has done a phenomenal job in making the game much more approachable, without losing its lore for the key core consumer.

RG: So, the key core consumer just has to find out that there's also an advanced play mode on the game.

Moore: I wouldn't do that through marketing. I haven't seen the cover yet, but my assumption is you still have Ronaldinho in the cover wearing the A.C. Milan uniform and we'll also use an Spanish player, I think we've made an announcement but I’m not sure who he is yet... But it will be different than the PS3 and the 360 version. Again, my example: In America, we have Brett Favre in a classic style; but in the Wii version, he's actually smiling and having fun. Wii consumers have told us they want a much more approachable experience, so that's what we'll do!

RG: But that's a risk.

Moore: You're right, that is a risk! But you know: nothing fancied, nothing gained.

RG: Okay. Talking about the Wii Remote without MotionPlus... SSX and The Godfather, we think they’re great examples of what you can do with the Wii Remote as it is. Tiger Woods will try this year to use it in a more advanced way than others. So, how are you going to use the Wii Remote without WM+?

Moore: Right now the best thing you'll find is... [Peter asks again if we've tried the game] Did you play it?

RG: Yes, this morning.

Moore: OK. [The best thing is] The natural 1:1 motion swing. Last year, if you remember, we didn't have that, so now it allows you like a real golfer to actually swing yourself with a much more natural motion than it was; and that's in the software, it's nothing to do with the Wii Remote, we needed to built that in. But who won’t say next year, when we will have Wii MotionPlus, have even more sensitive motion, that it will allow you to draw or slice your shot, or put more spin or drive on it.

I'm not have even yet got my hands on the WM+ controller, and I'm not totally sure what the capabilities are; but at the same time, the ability for us to do even more motion is always a good thing. The more precise, the more things we can do at different angles (which is what the MotionPlus does), the better the experience will be.

http://www.revogamers.net/Imag/GC08/peter_currando.jpg

 

RG: You recently said that your hope is that in the future we'll be able to feel the ball.

Moore: Yes. Think of Tennis. Tennis is still, on the Wii, a kind of a big-motion game. The way you and I would play Wii Tennis, or Top Spin from our friends at 2K Sports are big sweeping motions. Imagine that, like in real tennis, you can actually slice the ball, or your backhand, you can actually move the rest. My understanding is that there will be more precise motions with the Wii MotionPlus. So with a real backhand, it will recognize that you’re turning the Wii Remote this way [makes the gesture with his hand]. Because right now, you can play tennis like this [shakes his arms].

RG: That why I mentioned SSX; because in SSX you draw figures in the air, which was pretty awesome, and no other game has done that after it. And in The Godfather you had a guy and you could shake him or kill him with both hands, and that was without MotionPlus.

Moore: Again, until we really get our dev teams figuring out exactly what we have there (because it’s only been two weeks since it was shown, since E3) it's difficult for me to say what we can do, but you're exactly right. If you think about the big motions you can do with the Wii Remote, and then you imagine [the] precise motions are in there [WM+], there's a lot more stuff we can do (particularly in sports) to take advantage of that.

RG: Is there any other game you think that should use the device?

Moore: Well, I think every game would benefit. Tennis is a huge opportunity; it’ll be the first game that we will ship (I believe) using MotionPlus. But anything that requires small and precise movements, I think it’s going to benefit from that. We'll probably have it in all of our games.

RG: In all of your games?

Moore: Eventually, if it is what they say, I don’t know why you wouldn’t. I think you have to provide support for it. Now, it’s a brimful so therefore, a small number people would buy it. Obviously, it needs to work in a regular manner. But if it recognizes that you have it in there, it should give you a better game experience. I’ll say it one more time, we haven’t played with it, we don’t know what it feels like, but everything we hear from Nintendo is that.

RG: Could this even be optional in some games.

Moore: It has to be, because your installed base is not your percent.


RG: Then we have the Wii Balance Board, which you’re using in Skate It and in other games. But, being EA Sports a sports brand, and being Wii Fit an absolute success -out for half a year now, selling everything…- has EA Sports talked about using the BBoard as a fitness board or in a more physical way, and not just for balance EA Sports games?

Moore: We think about everything all the time, and we’re certainly watching the board. There’s a great opportunity for EA Sports to play a big role in what I think it’s the next wave: Health & Wellness. While we haven’t made any announcements yet, you can imagine we’re looking into the Wii Fit board. I totally agree that the board it’s more about balance, alignment and coordination, but I think it’s an opportunity to use it as well for broader, bigger movements, stuff as really good as make you sweat. When you combine sports to that… it’s a huge opportunity, but… stay tuned.


RG: Okay. Now the online aspects of the Wii: your partner Makita told us that only 2% of FIFA 08 users played online with the Wii version. What do you think about it? How is it evolving on next EA Sports titles?

Moore: To be fair, to be clear, you’re less likely going online if you own Wii than you’re if you own the 360 or PS3. We’ve always built rich experiences for next-gen platforms. We do online, but Kaz is right: there’s a very small number of people with the Wii that actually go online.
We’ll still provide online support, and my hope is that more consumers will go on and try, but my job might be to provide online support, maybe Nintendo’s job is to encourage more and more people to go online and play.

RG: We think so. Well, this a more personal question… Now you’re not a Nintendo rival [as you were in front of Xbox before], and you’ve been saying that you’re enjoying the Wii. How do you feel about your new position at EA Sports?

Moore: I’m part of a company that is platform-agnostic; and if there’s a platform made and people want to play games on it, EA ‘s always been there. I’m still a big fan of the Xbox 360, I’m a big fan of the Wii and I’m a big fan of the PS3. I have a little piece in my heart, as you might imagine, still up in Redmond, Washington, with Microsoft; but my job here is to sell as many EA Sports games as I can and provide innovative experiences for consumers, regardless of which platform they own. That’s my job and that’s what I do!

RG: And you’re also enjoying it!

Moore: Sure! Now I can have all three consoles in my house, which is more, without hiding them!

RG: About the event we have here, in Germany, I think this is more similar to the old E3; and you also said recently that we have to work together with ESA to get it [E3] better.

Moore: Yes, because it didn’t work for me this past time. I was disappointed. It wasn’t inexpensive and yet we didn’t get the bank for a buck that we needed as the huge industry that we are. Somebody said that it fell like a plumber’s convention.

RG: That’s cool, full of Marios? (laughs)

Moore: Not Italian plumbers, just plumbers! Well, It was really disappointing to go to E3… And while E3 will probably never get to what it was a number of years ago, its performance just has to be better, more workable for people like me; and may be it requires a growth of the convention center – that’s a possibility. Also, I’m a fan of bringing consumers in, maybe for one day or two days towards the end, having consumers look at the show...

RG: Maybe here you have it.

Moore: Yes; here you have it, in Tokyo you have it... I was concerned a little bit about showing consumers software that is not finished, I don’t know if it’s an experience to understand “it’s only 70% done”, or what that means. But at the same time, we invest a lot in shows. E3, we backed away from because of the investment, and one way to amortize and justify a bigger show again would be to actually get some consumers in and trying the games.

RG: Do you see a bright future?

Moore: It’s a future where there are no controls in the industry. We just need to figure out what we want it to be, and act accordingly. Right know, I just know it’s not working as what it is right know. And it [E3] can even get smaller and go away or it can get bigger and get closer to what it was before.

RG: Maybe in another kind of show or something, are we seeing you again showing your arm, now with an “EA Sports – it’s in the game” tattoo?

Moore: These are mistaken… That requires all the way down to find it [pointing his leg], and exactly as that visual would be right now, yeah “it’s in the game” (laughs); confidently we’ll change the tagline. Never put a tagline in your leg! Those things go away very quickly (laughs)

RG: (laughs) Okay, that’s all! Thank you.

Moore: Ah, my pleasure. Thanks very much!